We talked to Jonathan Gagne on how f8th uses machine learning that can identify users and fraudsters in real-time and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jonathan Gagne: Very well, we are extremely resilient, and we are able to adapt ourselves quickly, no matter the situation. Some of my family members decided to join the healthcare industry to help the COVID-19 cause; everyone is very proud to follow the guidelines mandated by the government and to be a part of the solution.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded f8th.
Jonathan Gagne: When I was working in the eCommerce industry, I saw that fraud was widespread, and I recognized the importance of protecting the vendor against fraudsters. On the other hand, I discovered as well that the vendor had to violate the privacy of the customer in order to assure him or herself with tracking technics, that the customer is a real customer and not a fraudster.
Then, I was promoted to the AI industry, where I discovered the power of data science. This is where I had the idea to combine tracking methods with AI to protect the vendor without violating the customer’s privacy. So, I quit my job, sold everything, and moved to Mexico to develop the “Proof of Concept.” In Mexico, I got in contact with IBM, who strongly suggested that I move to Toronto and partner with them.
Today, we have multiple new partners such as Amazon and Duo, the identification technology provider for Facebook, Lyft & Etsy. Moreover, we have implemented our product in multiple financial, bank, and government platforms, as well as other important integrators. Our team is now composed of the smartest data scientists, experts with over 30 years of combined experience in the cybersecurity industry and the national defence sector. We also have a few of the most savvy cloud and cognitive technology experts. We are also supported by and are collaborating with multiple governmental programs and research and development projects with several universities.
How does f8th innovate?
Jonathan Gagne: We created and kept innovation as the most advanced BBA (behavioral biometric analysis) tools with the help of Machine Learning and Edge Computing. With the help of multiple organizations, we always improve our product by studying all the newest cutting-edge technologies, such as Quantum Machine Learning, Real-Time Machine Learning, Edge Computing, 5G Network, and a lot more.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jonathan Gagne: Obviously, I would never say the Coronavirus is a good thing for our communities, but it has shone a spotlight on companies’ need to implement remote working solutions. It has also shown that there is a need to ensure that a remote worker is an actual employee and not impersonating someone else with the company credentials who has access to the enterprise’s data. As a result of the remoting working trend, our business has exploded since the pandemic. The biggest challenge now is the growing speed to expand our team and provide our product to numerous clients who are waiting for it in the pipeline.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Jonathan Gagne: The entrepreneurial world is not as glamorous as I thought. In fact, it is actually very challenging. The main tool you have in your pocket is your self-confidence. Without it, you cannot quit a great job to start an enterprise from scratch – without a salary, you cannot survive through all the failures before reaching success. You simply cannot convince anyone that you are the one who can make the enterprise succeed if you do not believe in yourself.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Jonathan Gagne: It was imperative to train and reinforce the skills of our team with respect to the prevention of remote working cyber threats, and as well, the whole team has had to get used to and comfortable with Video chat applications for conference calls.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jonathan Gagne: There is no such thing as too much security in 2021. If we are not unifying all our efforts together, the bad guy will win that war. We are not considering other cybersecurity systems as competitors. We see them only as another security layer that enterprises can use to protect themselves against a wider range of potential cyber threats.
Your final thoughts?
Jonathan Gagne: Good cyber defense is an integral part of national innovation, growth, and development. Individuals, governments, and businesses all want to have confidence in the cyber systems that underpin their daily lives. That is why it is more imperative than ever to find more cyber defense alternatives that not only will protect against cybersecurity threats but will respect citizen’s privacy.
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